Christ Church heads state Classics teaching

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State school teachers will be given special training in Greek and Latin to combat the private school imbalance in Classics-related subjects at University. Michael Gove,the Education Secretary, announced that teachers in the state sector will attend courses on how to teach the ancient languages.

The training project will be led by Christ Church’s Regius Professor ofGreek Professor, Christopher Pelling, who said: “I am glad and proud that Oxford is playing a lead role […] Lots of other universities will be involved as well, especially the Cambridge Schools Latin Project and its Director Will Griffiths.”

He also recognised the efforts that the previous government had made to boost the number of state school students studying Latin, noting that “its impact is already being felt in admissions”.

The decision comes as part of a wider drive to reform the education system and give pupils from state school backgrounds the opportunity to make competitive applications for traditionally public school dominated-Classics subjects.

Last year, over 11,000 students took the GCSE Latin course and over 1,000 schools in the state sector offered the subject.

However, despite these recent improvements, Classics is still often seen as the preserve of privately educated children.

A St John’s Classics undergraduate welcomed the changes, but said that, “as Christopher Pelling has himself pointed out, the previous rise in numbers learning ancient languages was largely due to a £5 million funding boost provided by Labour.”

“I only hope that Gove proves that he means what he says and places sufficient financial backing behind the project, to support these radical changes.”

Dr Earnshaw, a member of the faculty’s Outreach Committee, commented that, “those who have not studied Classical Civilisation, Latin, or Greek at school are still able to study Classics at Oxford through the course II stream.”

However, she added that “this relies on the individual having some interaction with ancient world studies previously in order to open up the possibility of university study.”


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